Skip to main content.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
{search_item}

Department of Invertebrate Zoology

A drawing by Giesbrecht (1892) of the Copepoda, Sapphirina auronitens Claus, 1863

A drawing by Giesbrecht (1892) of the Copepoda, Sapphirina auronitens Claus, 1863

C.B. Wilson Copepod Library

Charles Branch Wilson (1861-1941) was the author of numerous works on Copepoda and Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts State Teachers College at Westfield. For many years he held the honorary appointment of Collaborator at the U.S. National Museum (now National Museum of Natural History), Smithsonian Institution. Most of the Museum’s collection of copepods was entrusted to him for study, and the results of much of his research were published in the Proceedings and Bulletin of the Museum. Wilson bequeathed to the Museum his extensive library of copepod and argulid literature, together with his card files. The latter included a card for the author of each published work, and a card for each species and genus listing all known published references to that taxon, i.e., a synonymy. The donation also included Wilson's original illustrations, dismounted from their plates, and extra reprints of many of his own works...

Since 1941 the Library has steadily grown, augmented partly by other collections of literature such as those of C. Dwight Marsh, Mildred S. Wilson, Robert W. Pennak, Georgiana Deevey, Roger Cressey, Thomas E. Bowman and Arthur G. Humes. Housed in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology, it now includes over 14,000 books and reprints. Of course, the Library is not a complete collection of the immense literature on copepods. The holdings include many original and now rare taxonomic works, as well as articles on many aspects of their biology.

To improve access and to provide a more complex set of information products, there are several staff members who maintain the Wilson Copepod Library (WCL) they are Frank Ferrari, Lana Ong and Chad Walter)and have begun to place information from the WCL into linked databases in the library itself.. WCL has compiled a master list of all titles published about copepods and it has been checked against WCL reprints, in effect creating an electronic catalogue of the holdings. Mrs. Adrienne Boniface volunteered for over 4 years to inventory the library, and was instrumental in helping make the bibliographic information available for this web site. Dr. Janet Reid provides regular updates for all the databases and donated many years to the upkeep and organization of the library.

Currently we have over 50,000 bibliographic entries in the database, which was initially derived from the reformatted text file prepared by Dr. Willem Vervoort.

Copepodology at the Smithsonian Institution

(Modified from the article by Thomas E. Bowman in Monoculus Newsletter 25)

The earliest publications on Copepoda by a Smithsonian biologist were 3 by Richard Rathbun (1852-1918) in 1884, 1886, and 1887, in which 8 new species and many more known species were described. That Rathbun's 8 species are still valid indicates the quality of his work. Rathbun then became engaged in administrative duties that prevented him from continuing taxonomic studies. He was succeeded in the Department of Marine Invertebrates in 1886 by his younger sister, Mary Jane Rathbun (1860-1943), and also James E. Benedict in 1889, both specialists in the Decapoda. Miss Rathbun, however, included in her 1905 list of the Crustacea of New England, 76 species of Copepoda and 7 of Argulus.

The Smithsonian did not have a copepodologist per se on its staff until 1944, but for many years Charles Branch Wilson (1861-1941), State Teachers College, Westfield, Massachusetts, served as Scientific Collaborator. The majority of his works were published in the 2 now discontinued series, Proceedings and Bulletin of the United States National Museum. C.B. Wilson's work on Copepoda received the strong encouragement of Waldo L. Schmitt, who joined the staff in 1915 and became Head Curator of Biology in 1946. Dr. Wilson's fine library of copepod literature and his card files on authors and species were bequeathed to the Museum. These materials formed the nucleus of the ever-expanding C.B. Wilson Copepod Library of the Division of Crustacea, now a public resource for copepodologists.

In 1944 Mildred Stratton Wilson (no relation to C.B. Wilson), who had been studying Copepoda at the Museum since 1938, was appointed Assistant Curator, a position that she held until 1946, when she moved to Alaska with her husband. From 1946 until her death in 1973 she held the honorary titles of "Collaborator" and later "Research Associate". In her studies carried out in Alaska, she received strong encouragement and support from the Museum. A sensitive biography of Mrs. Wilson, including a list of her publications, was published by David M. Damkaer in the Journal of Crustacean Biology 8 (1): 131-146.

In 1947 Paul L. Illg was appointed Associate Curator, a position he held until he left in 1952 to accept a position at the University of Washington. Illg's research centered on copepods associated with ascidians, the former Notodelphyoida, but he also produced a number of significant publications on other groups of Copepoda.

Two years after Illg left the Museum, Thomas E. Bowman joined the staff of the former Division of Marine Invertebrates. Bowman's copepod studies were mainly on the Calanoida, with occasional forays into other groups. Bowman retired in 1991 and continued as Curator Emeritus (see Monoculus 17: 10-21) until his death in August, 1995.

In 1965 Roger F. Cressey ( a student of Arthur G. Humes) joined the staff of the former Division of Crustacea, giving us expertise in Copepoda parasitizing fishes. In addition to his numerous publications on these copepods, Dr. Cressey produced important works on the Branchiura and on the lizard fishes. Dr. Cressey retired in 1991.

When the Smithsonian Oceanographic Sorting Center was discontinued in May 1992, Frank D. Ferrari, who had been Supervisor of the Zooplankton Section since 1974, became the Curator of Crustacea, where he is now responsible for the copepod, branchiura, and cladocera collections. Dr. Ferrari's widespread interests in the Copepoda include taxonomy of the Oithonidae, asymmetry in Pleuromamma, mating behavior, and patterns of development of leg segmentation.

Since the 1960s, we have had a number of visitors in more or less temporary residence in the Division of Crustacea, working on various projects involving Copepoda. Some of them are listed here in approximate chronological order of their visits, together with their projects: Richard U. Gooding (copepods associated with sea urchins), Byron F. Morris (Attheyella associated with crayfishes), Gayle A. Heron (postnaupliar development of Antarctic Clausocalanus and Ctenocalanus), M. Saraswathy (Gaussia), Janet M. Bradford (Acartia, subgenus Acartiura and Calanus), David M. Damkaer (Arctic Spinocalanidae), Douglas J. Barr (Pseudocyclopidae), Masahiro Dojiri (copepod parasites of fishes). David Damkaer is currently investigating the history of copepod research, and has provided us with many valuable citations of obscure literature.

1982-2002, Janet W. Reid was a resident Research Associate (and for 1 year as Senior Postdoctoral Fellow), specializing in taxonomy, ecology, and biogeography of New World freshwater Copepoda. Dr. Reid has made major improvements in our collections of these species, and has also given much time to the Wilson Library.

T. Chad Walter first arrived in 1982; he worked at the Smithsonian Oceanographic Sorting Center working on Antarctic copepods and then joined the Department of Invertebrate Zoology in 1988. In addition to publishing important works on the systematics of the Pseudodiaptomidae, he has donated much help to the Wilson Library. He is currently the departmental database manager and designed this web site.

The Smithsonian's copepod collection includes specimens preserved in 70% ethanol and specimens or parts of specimens mounted on slides. The slide collection in the Division of Crustacea is arranged by USNM catalog numbers. The cataloged samples in ethanol occupy more than 650 square feet (60+ m2) of shelf space, and the catalog cards take up about 190 inches (almost 5 m) of drawer space.

The collection also includes many uncatalogued samples, some unsorted, some identified, some not identified. These include important collections from Dwight Marsh, Stillman Wright, Mildred S. Wilson, Georgiana B. Deevey, George D. Grice and Arthur Humes. Eventually the collections will be catalogued, but at present we lack the personnel required to undertake this important task. The Dept. of Invertebrate Zoology received the library and specimen collections of the late Arthur G. Humes who donated his collections to the Smithsonian.


Please put us on your reprint list and send articles to:

Wilson Copepod Library
Smithsonian Institution
Department Of Invertebrate Zoology
P.O. Box 37012, MRC 163
Washington, DC 20013-7012


Any comments, corrections, additions or
deletions should be directed to:

Database Manager
T. Chad Walter
phone 202-633-0677
fax 202-357-3043
walterc@si.edu

This page was lasted updated October 2007

[ TOP ]